EcoSystem Applies for U.S. DOE Grant for Biofuels Feedstock Development
DAYTON, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EcoSystem Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: ESYM) today announced its that it has submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Biomass Research and Development Initiative based on EcoSystem’s proprietary bioconversion technology.
EcoSystem’s application is based on the voracious appetite of the black solider fly, a non-pest insect, to convert locally available food scrap waste into biofuels feedstock and biobased products in a safe, clean and industrial scale engineered ecosystem. The demonstration project will be sized to convert 24,000 tons annually of food waste into natural oils, high protein aquaculture feed, and fertilizer. The demonstration project will be co-located with a regional waste transfer station in the greater Cincinnati-Dayton Ohio region where it will intercept and devour food waste prior to disposal in landfill. Natural oils produced in the project will be sold under EcoSystem’s MAGFUEL brand to a refinery located in Adrian, Michigan, for conversion into biodiesel fuel.
“An incredible 50% of all food grown, harvested, shipped, processed, sold and served for human consumption in the U.S. ends up in landfills,” said Glen Courtright, CEO and President of EcoSystem. “The amount of resources to deal with this waste is astronomical; our society is dumping nearly 26 million tons of food scraps into landfills each year. Today the U.S. is only recovering three percent of that waste stream. We have petitioned the U.S. DOE for grant funding in support of our efforts to streamline the flow of resources into, through and out of America’s food chain to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and transportation and disposal costs by converting food wastes into concentrated feedstocks for regional animal consumption and next generation biofuel production.”
The University of Arizona estimates that the adverse environmental impact of inefficient food chain including methane emissions, land fill use, soil depletion, use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides could be reduced by more than 25% with landfill diversion practices. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG), 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
When at full capacity, Black Soldier Fly food scrap waste conversion technology could yield up to 190,000 gallons of crude (non-food) natural oils per acre of bioreactor surface area annually. In comparison, soybean yields an average of 40 gallons of oil per acre annually. EcoSystem’s integrated bioreactor is estimated to be deployed at a cost of less than $100 per square foot with minimal use of utilities for other than periodic cleaning and heating.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the annual food scrap waste generated per capita in the U.S. is 1,678 pounds, of which 11% are food scraps. 40% to 50% of nearly all food harvested never gets consumed according to the University of Arizona’s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology. Nationwide, household food waste adds up to $43 billion per year. Residential households waste an average of 14% of their food purchases, and fifteen percent of that includes products still within their expiration date but never opened.
EcoSystem estimates that 25% of the volume of retail, restaurant, and industrial generated food waste could be converted into Black Soldier Fly larvae. Based upon U.S. 2010 Census data, up to 100 million gallons per year of MAGFUEL natural oils could be produced and sold to U.S. biodiesel producers using EcoSystem technology.
“Competitively-priced feedstock has always been a challenge for the biodiesel industry” says Glen Courtright, President and CEO of EcoSystem. “We are excited to develop this competitively priced, high quality feedstock to the biodiesel industry by diverting food scrap waste from landfills. We are in discussions now with a number of very interested early-adopter partners for co-location of our bioreactor technology.”
EcoSystem will market the MAGFUEL into the existing biodiesel industry as a blending agent for lower grade biodiesel feedstocks (e.g., choice white grease, tallow, and yellow grease) which have poor cold flow properties and high cetane values. The larvae dry weight consists of about 42% protein and 35% natural oils. The natural oil derived from the Black Soldier Fly Larvae is comprised of the following constituents: 1.6% capric acid; 53.2% lauric acid, 6.6% myristic acid, 8.4% palmitic acid, 1.7% stearic acid, 12.4% oleic acid, and 8.8% linoleic acid.
EcoSystem’s revenue model will be driven by tipping fees for accepting and processing food scrap waste, MAGFUEL, and other product sales.
EcoSystem’s Black Soldier Fly bioreactor technology can convert a diverse array of feedstocks, including poultry and swine manure, livestock processing wastes, and food scrap waste. Black Soldier Flies are clean, energy-efficient and voracious. They rapidly consume large quantities of feed during maturation and have a high tolerance against contaminants that would cripple algae and other bioreactor technologies.
The objectives of EcoSystem’s proposed demonstration project are to refine scale-up assumptions, optimize industrial scale breeding conditions, maximize feedstock conversion yields, evaluate natural oil blends for biodiesel, and document protein and fiber suitability for aquaculture feeds.
EcoSystem will be notified in late April 2009 if the DOE wants a full application submitted. Full grant applications are due June 11, 2009. If the grant proposal is accepted, the DOE will notify EcoSystem by July 23, 2009 and will make awards by September 30, 2009.